Keynote speakers

9th IEEE International Workshop on Advances in Sensors and Interfaces
(IWASI 2023)

Restoring the magic in design

Jan Rabaey
University of California at Berkeley, USA
Abstract   The emergence of “Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI)” in the late 1970’s created a groundswell of feverish innovation. Inspired by the vision laid out in Mead and Conway’s “Introduction to VLSI Design”, numerous researchers embarked on venues to unleash the capabilities offered by integrated circuit technology. The introduction of design rules, separating manufacturing from design, combined with an intermediate abstraction language (CIF) and a silicon brokerage service (MOSIS) gave access to silicon for a large population of eager designers. The magic however expanded way beyond these circuit enthusiasts and attracted a whole generation of software experts to help automate the design process, given rise to concepts such as layout generation, logic synthesis, and silicon compilation. It is hard to overestimate the impact that this revolution has had on information technology and society at large.
About fifty years later, Integrated Circuits are everywhere. Yet, the process of creating these amazing devices feels somewhat tired. CMOS scaling, the engine behind the evolution in complexity over all these decades, is slowing down and will most likely peter out in about a decade. So has innovation in design tools and methodologies. As a consequence, the lure of IC design and design tool development has faded, causing a talent shortage worldwide. Yet, at the same time, this moment of transition offers a world of opportunity and excitement. Novel technologies and devices, integrated in three-dimensional artifacts are emerging and are opening the door for truly transformational applications such as brain-machine interfaces and swarms of nanobots. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, optical and quantum computing present novel models of computation surpassing the instruction-set processor paradigm. With this comes a need again to re-invent the design process, explicitly exploiting the capabilities offered by this next generation of computing systems. In summary, it is time to put the magic in design again.
Biography [expand]

Innovative systems for railway infrastructure managment

Arturo Amendola
Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, Italy

From Nano-Drones to Cars - A RISC-V Open Platform for next-generation Vehicles

Luca Benini
Università of Bologna, Italy and ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Abstract   The next generation of highly autonomous vehicles, with form factors ranging from tiny palm-sized drones to cars pushes signal processing and machine learning aggressively towards the edge, near sensors and actuators, with strong energy-efficiency, safety and security requirements, while at the same time raising the bar in terms of flexibility and performance. To succeed in this balancing act, we need principled ways to walk the line between conflicting non-functional requirements. In the talk, I will describe our experience in leveraging the Open RISC-V ISA and open hardware approaches to innovate across the board and pave the way for an open embedded computing platform for autonomous vehicles.
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Thin film electronic devices marry lab-on-chip applications

Domenico Caputo
Università di Roma "La Sapienza", Italy
Abstract   Lab-on-Chip technology is gaining great interest due to the many possibilities that it offers in the fields of life sciences, from parallel analysis in genomics to point-of-care devices in medical diagnostics. At the beginning, Lab-on-Chip devices essentially consisted of a microfluidic network that miniaturized the analytical procedures leading to faster reaction kinetics and lower sample and reagents consumption. Recent devices integrate several functional modules, that allow all the functions of a human-scale test laboratory including transferring samples, drawing off a precise volume of a chemical product, reagent mixing, DNA extraction, detection and quantification of biomolecules.
After a review on the actual trends in lab-on-chip technology, this talk focuses on true la-on-chip, where thin film sensors and actuators are combined in a multifunctional optoelectronic platform. In particular, the platform integrates amorphous silicon sensors for on-chip detection and temperature control and optical filters for selection of specified wavelength. By coupling this platform with a microfluidic network, this platform enables application in the field of mycotoxin detection and DNA amplification of bacteria and virus.
Biography [expand]

State-of-the-art and trends of silicon detector technology for particle physics

Gianluigi Casse
University of Liverpool, UK
Biography [expand]

Addressable Monolithic InSb on GaAs Focal Plane Arrays for MWIR Imaging

David R. S. Cumming
University of Glasgow, UK
Abstract   Mid-wave infrared (MWIR) sensing and imaging is of growing importance for the detection of environmental greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4. The ability to survey large infrastructure in addition to making single point measurements will bring many advantages to industrial asset management towards reaching net zero. In this presentation we will review the current technologies and applications for mid-wave infrared sensing and imaging and explore some of the challenges and limitations. Existing technology for MWIR imaging relies on costly flip chipped technology and cryogenic cooling. These technologies use mercury cadmium telluride – a semiconductor with a small bandgap. HgCdTe is not compatible with other material systems such as Si or III-Vs hence two chip solutions are necessary. Alternatively, heterogeneous integration using the III-V material system makes it possible to exploit narrow bandgap materials such as indium antimonide for monolithic MWIR focal plane arrays. In a technical deep-dive into a new monolithic integrated technology that can be made in a traditional planar process. The monolithic approach creates new possibilities including quantum sensing for applications in automotive and aerospace industries.
Biography [expand]

Neuromorphic computing in the edge: merging cyber and physical

Georges Gielen
KU Leuven, Belgium
Abstract   In today’s emerging world, both humans and objects are continuously connected, collecting and communicating data. The rising number of applications relying on smart ICT technology includes autonomous vehicles, industry 5.0, biomedical wearables and implants, environmental sensing, smart houses and offices, etc. With all these data, local computation in the edge has become a necessity to limit data traffic and response latency. Embedding AI processing in the edge may add high levels of smart autonomy to these systems. Progress in nanoelectronic technology in combination with emerging neuromorphic, event-driven architectures with dynamic learning capabilities allow to do this in a power- and hardware-efficient way. This keynote will explore some solutions being developed today, and illustrate them with some practical examples of integrated circuits that are on the verge of merging the cyber and the physical worlds.
Biography [expand]

Quo Vadis IC System Design?

Alberto Sangiovanni Vincentelli
University of California at Berkeley, USA
Abstract   Microelectronics has been the center of renewed interest worldwide due to production shortage that caused major problems to the electronics industry and other sectors such as automotive. Design of semiconductors has become increasingly challenging for the lack of designers and of the difficulties inherent in the development of products involving billions of transistors. The advent of chiplets has created further complexities in the design process. It is also clear that the overall issue is the design of integrated SYSTEM design where sensors, actuators, communication and computing elements have to be considered holistically. Given that these components may be best implemented with different technologies, decisions about integrated versus multi-chip solutions are critical. Among the computing elements, there has been an increasing interest in AI components. Tradeoffs between analog and digital solutions to AI chips are also becoming critical. I will review the general directions of integrated system design and of AI computing blocs.
Biography [expand]

Single-protein large area detections: from mechanism to applications in the clinics

Luisa Torsi
University of Bari, Italy
Abstract   A large millimeter-wide electronic interface can detect at a single-molecule/entity limit-of-detection. The technology is called SiMoT - Single-Molecule with a large Transistor [1]. So far, antigens (Immunoglobulins, C-reactive proteins, spike 1, HIV p-24), antibodies (anti-immunoglobulins, anti-spike1), peptides, viruses (SARS-Cov-2), bacteria (Xylella fastidiosa), and even DNA strands (KRAS, miR-182) have been detected. Selectivity is assured by covering the gate electrode with a large number (1011-1012/cm2) of recognition elements to affinity binding the target element.
SiMoT detects directly in a droplet (0.1 mL) of a real fluid such as saliva from COVID-19 patients, blood serum, pancreatic cysts juice, and olive saps from infected trees. Relevantly Brownian diffusion enables the entity to statistically hit the millimeter-wide interface in a few minutes [2]. Considering the footprint of a molecule on a millimeter-wide interface, it is like spotting a droplet of water falling on the surface of a 1 Km wide lake [picture].
The applications span from a handheld intelligent single-molecule binary bioelectronic system for fast and reliable immunometric point-of-care testing of COVID-18 patients [3] and Xylella fastidiosa single bacterium detected in infected plants sap. The phenomenon enabling such outstanding performance level was discovered in 2018 [4]. While still under investigation, it is supposed to involve an amplification that starts from the single affinity binding that triggers a propagating collaborative response.
Future actions include the deepening of our understanding of the sensing mechanism and the engagement in a campaign of thousands of clinical trials that will bring SiMoT beyond TRL5.
  1. E. Macchia et al. Chemical Review 2022, 122, 4636 DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.1c00290
  2. E. Macchia et al. Advanced Science 2022, 2104381 DOI: DOI: 10.1002/advs.2021043811
  3. E. Macchia et al., Science Advances 2022, 8 (27) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abo0881
  4. E. Macchia et al., Nature Communication 2018, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05235-z
Biography [expand]

Ultra low power event-driven sensor interfaces

Pieter Harpe
Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
Abstract   In this talk, we will take a look at ultra low power sensor interfaces for IoT applications. In such applications, the sensing operation is often done at a relatively low frequency, and sometimes it is heavily duty-cycled, or it should be triggered by particular events or thresholds. For that reason, event-driven (dynamic) operation is beneficial as compared to static operation. We will review ADC and sensor interface architectures that can operate dynamically and that can be triggered by a single clock pulse. As an overall example, a resistive-based temperature sensor interface including analog correction techniques is reviewed and the main features in terms of efficiency and performance are discussed.
Biography [expand]

The Next Dawn for CMOS: Cryogenic ICs for Quantum Computing

Andrei Vladimirescu
University of California at Berkeley, USA
Abstract   Advances in semiconductor and superconductor technology have sparked a new round of research in quantum computing in recent years. Quantum computers hold the promise to efficiently solve problems that are intractable by today's electronic computers. In a quantum computer, standard logic bits '0' and '1' are replaced by quantum states |0⟩ and |1⟩ referred to as quantum bits (qubits). The challenge facing researchers is controlling and detecting these quantum states, which are preserved long enough only at deep sub-Kelvin temperatures.
For a functional quantum processor, an electronic interface to control operations on qubits and sense the results, is needed; today it is implemented with standard instrumentation placed at room temperature. This may work as proof of concept for the low number of qubits available today but not when the number of qubits will grow to hundreds of thousands or maybe millions as needed for the solution of practical problems, making room-temperature electronics for control unworkable due to the wiring requirements, signal integrity and cost.
The solution is to build the control electronics to operate at 4 K or below, close to the qubits. While many predict the gloom and doom of the end of Moore's scaling and implicitly semiconductor circuits, the application areas and the operating range of CMOS ICs keep expanding with no end in sight. Standard CMOS is the obvious technology of choice for quantum computing allowing both cryogenic operation (4 K down to 100 mK) and the integration on a single chip of the billions of transistors required to operate a very large number of qubits.
These circuits and systems must satisfy very stringent requirements for precise control of the qubit state and sensing tiny electrical signals with extreme accuracy while operating under a strict power budget below 1 mW/qubit imposed by the cooling limits of existing refrigeration technology.
The challenges and approach of designing and implementing integrated circuits (IC) operating at 4 K and below compatible with the qubits, will be described in this presentation along with the advantages of electron spin qubit implementations using the same semiconductor technology.
Biography [expand]